PATIENCE is wearing thin in Trowbridge over the lack of progress with the old Bowyer’s site and why it cannot be classed as a priority piece of land for houses to be built there.

Progress on what will happen at the 10-acre site, which was bought by Innox Mills in the Spring of 2016, has been painfully slow as the Trowbridge public has been waiting for more than a year to see an exhibition on what could be built there.

On top of that, at Thursday’s area board meeting, debate raged between Wiltshire Council housing supremo Toby Sturgis and Trowbridge Town Council over why Bowyers has been classed as a windfall site and not as part of the authority’s Housing Site Allocation Plan.

Town councillors criticised Wiltshire Council for its tendency to overlook brownfield sites in the town and focus more on green field land, which they say will rip up the gaps between Trowbridge and its surrounding villages.

In response to this, Cllr Sturgis said: “Bowyers will be a mixed use site and not primarily a residential one. We can only include residential development in the housing site plan. That is laid down by the government.

“We have been talked about Bowyers for as long as I have been a councillor (the mid 1990’s). Unless something magical happens soon, there is no certainty about what we can do with this site.”

Windfall sites are sites that become available for development unexpectedly and are therefore not included as allocated land in a planning authority’s development plan.

After the meeting, Cllr Fuller said: “This should be in the Housing Site Allocation Plan. I do not understand their reluctance to do this. It is seen as windfall sites but Bowyers should be treated as a more important solution.

“If you include Bowyers and other brownfield sites, then you can reduce the amount of housing that is required on greenfield sites.

“We will continue to make this argument because we feel it needs to be made. They seem to want to have greenfield sites instead of brownfield ones. Gaps between Trowbridge and the villages, what we used to call buffer zones, should be maintained.”

Cllr Graham Payne in particular has been on at the London-based business consortium of property investors every few months, but the wait goes on.

Wiltshire Council’s director of economic development and planning, Tim Martienssen, said: “I have spoken to the planning agent at Bowyers but they cannot give me any more details. When we get a planning application, wer can answer questions about it. When that happens we can find out more collectively.”

Jonathan Dean from Innox Mills said: “I’m pleased to report that the legal process with our prospective joint venture partners is going well and we remain on target to be on the ground consulting this summer. We may not quite be in a position to present to the Trowbridge Area Board in July however we are doing our best.”